An old ship in the reprographics business is taking a new tack. The drive to create a construction-document management system to give every participant accessible, up-to-date versions of every required document, with revisions pushed instantly, audit trails and superseded versions archived for review, is moving to the cloud.
ARC Document Solutions, launched in 1989 as American Reprographics Co., introduced SkySite, a cloud-based "enterprise-level" construction-document management system, on Jan. 29. The firm went public in 2005, with an acquisitions binge that took it up to 315 North American locations before the 2008 financial meltdown trimmed its sails to 200.
Suri Suriyakumar, president, CEO and chairman, says the new service, which has mobile access, is hosted on ARC's own servers and backed up to Amazon's cloud.
"We are like the bank. We always have the right documents," says Suriyakumar. There is no integration with project planning or scheduling tools as yet, but he says ARC "will build connectivity to any program."
Rob McKinney, a construction technology consultant and a beta tester, says he is pleased the system has three permission levels: one to view documents, another for read-write access and a third "super administrator," with sole authority to delete. "To me, that's a pretty valuable thing. People do stupid things," McKinney says, adding, "No matter what you do, SkySite will send you what you are supposed to have." McKinney also likes that the vendor has its own servers. "Its a solid system to distribute and deploy plans," he says.
A 5-gigabyte trial is available for free. Monthly fees start at $300 for up to 30 users and rise to $2,000 for unlimited users. The company says SkySite users can view documents in 120 native file formats and says it has a "Word-like" search function for large- format plans.